FEX Fights for Lobbying Expenditure Disclosures Through Shareholder Resolutions

In January, together with a group of over 40 institutional investors, led by Walden Asset Management and AFSCME, Funding Exchange announced a new set of shareholder resolutions to 40 companies urging them to report on lobbying expenditures, including indirect funding of lobbying through trade associations.

The investors believe that shareholders have the right and need to understand how company resources are being spent in efforts to change both elections and public policy. This lobbying disclosure initiative is a natural extension of an ongoing shareholder campaign encouraging greater political spending transparency and accountability. Specifically, the investors believe that enhanced lobbying disclosure will enable them to better evaluate business risk associated with their companies’ efforts to influence regulatory and legislative processes.

While Citizens United and the focus on political expenditures have attracted a great deal of media attention, corporate lobbying expenditures extend far beyond campaign contributions. A November 2011 study by Si2, funded by the IRRC Institute, entitled Corporate Governance of Political Expenditures found that in 2010, S&P 500 companies spent a total of $1.1 billion on political contributions and lobbying, with $979 million in federal lobbying expenditures making up 87% of this spending.

Moreover, lobbying by trade associations to which corporations contribute is substantial, and the corporate contributions are largely unreported. In 2010 the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent more than $132 million lobbying, making it the country’s largest lobbying group. Yet the Si2 study found that only 14% of S&P 500 companies disclose the portion of their trade association dues used to fund lobbying. In fact, most companies do not provide even rudimentary disclosure on their lobbying expenditures and practices to investors. Out of the S&P 500, the IRRC study found 64% of companies make no mention of lobbying activities, policies, or oversight. Furthermore, the study found that only 13 companies in the S&P 500 provide investors information on how much they spend on lobbying.

Funding Exchange Donor-Advised Funds and Endowment Funds support important justice work while they grow in value to allow for more direct support of good organizing.  Talk to Becky Rafter or Barbara Heisler if you are interested in knowing more about FEX’s Donor-Advised fund program.

Read the full Press Release.

The companies receiving lobbying disclosure resolutions for 2012 are:

Abbott Laboratories
Altria Group
Bank of America
Chesapeake Energy
CVS Caremark
Devon Energy
Eli Lilly
General Electric
GEO Group
Goldman Sachs
Johnson & Johnson
JPMorgan Chase
Kraft Foods
Northrop Grumman
Occidental Petroleum
Peabody Energy
St. Jude Medical
Union Pacific
United Parcel Service
UnitedHealth Group
Yum! Brands
Zimmer Holdings

Filers of Lobbying Disclosure Resolutions

Pension Funds

New York State Common Retirement Fund


AFSCME Employees Pension Plan
Communications Workers of America
Service Employees International Union

Asset Management Companies

First Affirmative Financial Network
Green Century Funds
PAX World Funds
Sustainability Group, Loring Wolcott & Coolidge
Walden Asset Management
Zevin Asset Management


Brainerd Foundation
Edward W. Hazen Foundation
Haymarket Foundation
Lemmon Foundation
Nathan Cummings Foundation
Needmor Fund
Russell Family Foundation
The Funding Exchange
Tides Foundation

Non-Profit Institutional Investors

Manhattan Country School

Religious Filers

Catholic Health East
Congregation of Benedictine Sisters, San Antonio
Dubuque Franciscans
First Parish Unitarian Church, Cambridge, MA
Franciscan Sisters
Glenmary Home Missioners
Jewish Voice for Peace
JOLT Coalition (Justice Organizers, Leadership & Treasurers)
Mercy Investment Services
Mount St. Scholastica
Northwest Women Religious Investment Trust
Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order
Sisters of Charity, New Jersey
Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX
Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus & Mary U.S. Ontario Province
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Boston
Sisters of Notre Dame, Toledo
Sisters of St. Dominic of Tacoma
Sisters of St. Francis, Philadelphia
Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston
Unitarian Universalist Association


Daniel Altschuler
Gwendolen Noyes
Gun Denhart